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Bank of America Grants Gift to Focus: HOPE

Aug 19
Bank of America Grants Gift to Focus: HOPE

Grant goes towards Detroit’s first-ever LEED Platinum home rehab, located in the HOPE Village 

bankof.jpgFocus: HOPE is pleased to announce it has been awarded a grant by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, in response to the Foundation's Community Development Request for Proposal.   The grant will partly fund the transformation of an abandoned two-family flat, "The La Salle House" – from a vacant neighborhood eyesore for many years into the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rehabilitated home in the City of Detroit.

These grant funds will supplement a generous grant from The Kresge Foundation through its Kresge Innovative Projects – Detroit program, as well as grants from Masco Corporation Foundation and the Detroit Revitalization Fellows at Wayne State University, helping to close the gap between project costs and available funding (additional funding is being sought to fill the remaining gap).    Funds already received have allowed the complete development of plans and specifications and identification of a local contractor to begin the transformation of the home.   In addition, a complete deconstruction of the fire damaged interior has been completed, and the basement slab has been insulated and repoured.

The La Salle House is located on LaSalle Boulevard in the HOPE Village neighborhood in City Council District 2, in Detroit's Central Woodward area. The goal of this transformation is to take the home completely off of the electric grid, providing a powerful and inspiring message that makes sustainability personal by helping families "bring green home," both literally and figuratively. 


The HOPE Village is a microcosm of the city of Detroit, with a population that is 97% African American, with close to 50% of its residents living at or below the poverty line.   The goal of the Initiative is that, by the year 2031, 100% of the residents of the area will be economically self-sufficient, educationally well prepared and living in a safe and supportive environment.     In addition to this house providing a number of options for energy efficiency and renewable energy approaches to home rehabilitation,  it also will help stabilize the neighborhood by reclaiming a home that has been abandoned and subject of fires, illegal dumping and gang activity for years.  The former owner (a well-known tax scavenger) had twice purchased the property at the Wayne County auction and allowed it to revert after not paying taxes. Focus: HOPE Revitalization purchased the property at auction in 2012 with the pro bono assistance of Dickinson Wright, who filed suit to quiet title.

The goals of the La Salle house are to demonstrate how to introduce green technologies in similar abandoned structures in Detroit; train local builders in LEED approaches to energy efficiency; inspire homeowners to actively experience affordable strategies to make their homes energy efficient and reduce their carbon footprint; provide a stimulus for local youth and residents to consider pursuing green careers; position HOPE Village at the forefront of actively developing sustainable housing concepts in Detroit and Southeast Michigan; and demonstrate the sustainable elements of home deconstruction versus demolition. 


The La Salle House transformation will be one the first projects completed under HOPE Village’s Eco-D designation.   HOPE Village was named one of Detroit’s two inaugural Eco-D’s in April of this year.   Eco-D is part of the eco-district movement – a nationally known neighborhood designation that demonstrates commitment to green, community-driven development prioritizing robust community engagement and equitable decision making. 


Eco-D was founded in 2014 by EcoWorks, Detroit Future City, The Greening of Detroit, Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD), and Vista Vantage Consulting Group, L3C and is part of the global EcoDistricts network working to create a new model for community development in urban areas. Additional core partners have since joined, including: The City of Detroit – Mayor Duggan's Jobs and Economy Team and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). Through Eco-D, Detroit is an official Target City-a district-scale neighborhood development program, and a Clinton Global Initiatives Commitment, administered by EcoDistricts and funded by The Kresge Foundation.

 “We’re honored to support the work you do every day to help individuals and families obtain affordable housing, create homeownership opportunities and revitalize communities through economic development.” said Tiffany S. Douglas, Market Manager, Michigan, Bank of America. 

The first floor of the La Salle House will be used as a community meeting space, available for tours and viewing of the LEED Platinum features through cut-way and interpretive signs. Throughout the exhibit, visitors will be engaged and encouraged to consider how they too can reduce their carbon foot print. The house will demonstrate to homeowners and builders that that small, physical and behavioral modifications in their own homes can make big differences in their environmental impact, make them more sustainable, healthier, safer, and more durable while creating long-term financial savings.  

We believe the LaSalle House transformation is a visionary project that will change the face of housing revitalization and radically change the economics of homeownership for Detroiters in the future – in strategic alignment with our HOPE Village Initiative. We are thankful for our current partners in the project and look forward to connecting with new partners to complete Detroit’s first-ever LEED Platinum home.